Trout Fish; A tantalizing winter recipe for foodies in KP

By Fakhar Alam

PESHAWAR, Jan 09 (APP): Known as city of hospitality, Peshawar is a unique ancient city for being frequently visited by tourists to relish on its delectable traditional foods varieties including the mouth-watering Chappli Kabab, Peshawari rice-polao and trout fish mostly brought from Malakand and Hazara divisions as special winter food recipe of cold water.

Travelling on historic Qissa Khawani and Namak Mandi bazaars in the bustling city of Peshawar, the visitors can’t help tasting tantalizing aroma arising out of the crispy Chappli Kabab and fried fish shops being served with traditional Qehwa and spicy sauces in the winter season.

Witnessing a roaring business, the fish outlets are flooded with foodies enjoying the delectable Rainbow and Brown Trout, Mushka, Raho, Simon, Pomfret, Mahsher, and Lobsters, which are brought from Ghanta Ghar, a hub of fish trade in Peshawar City. The hotel’s owners and even vendors are receiving a deluge of orders for eating at shops and home delivery for residents and visitors enjoying its delicious bites with loved ones during the peak of winter season.

“As special winter offer, we have received sufficient trout stock from Swat and Mansehra districts keeping in view Peshawarties’ pressing demands,” said Ali Khan, the owner of a famous fish outlet at Qissa Khwani bazaar while talking to APP.

He said, “The recipe of trout fish is very simple and cost as well as time-efficient. We prepare trout in oil after its proper water wash and cutting. Later, varieties of spicy sauces, pomegranate seed powder, salt and other species ingredients are properly mixed. Before making it fry on medium flame, the fish is properly marinated for about two hours to ensure that all sauces are intact and color is unchanged and later served to customers with chips, sauces (Chitnis), salad and naans.”

Ali Khan, who remained associated with the fish business for 25 years said that most people wanted deep-fried fish, some liked ‘tawa macchi’ and wanted grilled and baked trout fish for eating at shops as well as taking the parcel for their loved ones.

“Trout is my favorite seafood as its meat is full of proteins and vitamins besides easily digestible,” said Khurshid Khan, Assistant Manager, Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) told the news agency. He said, “Normally on every weekend, I visit Peshawar to enjoy trout fish with my family. But today, I rushed to the famous Qissa Khwani to enjoy my favorite food to beat the severe cold that gripped Peshawar Valley for the last few days.”

“When I was young, I frequently visited Swat with my father to enjoy the freshwater brown trout due to its aromatic taste and spiciness amid snowfall. This year, I did not go to Swat due to availability of the grilled and baked brown trout fish at Peshawar,” he added.

Dr Riaz Khan, Children Specialist, Government Hospital Pabbi Nowshera said there was an additional burden on the heart, brains, joints and lungs of weak people and children due to persistent cough, nausea and frosts in winter. He said consumption of the fish was the best and easily available choice to help reduce risks of these diseases. Terming fish as the best source of proteins, vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, phosphorus, iron and iodine, he said, consumption of seafood help improve digestion, protects skin from dryness and relieves joints’ pains.

Usman Ali, General Secretary of Swat Trout Fish Farming Association said that business of trout farmers have shined in winter following increase in demands of consumers and hotel industry from across the country. He said about 150 trout farms existed in Swat that engaged extra laborers to meet the placed orders.

He said about 2,500 people were directly associated with trout farming in Swat and urged the government to announce a special package for trout farmers keeping in view of their substantial economic losses during COVID-19 pandemic.

“In case of vulnerability of temperature, the mortality ratio of trout remained high and fishermen suffered great economic losses,” he added.

Usman said one kilogram trout in the open market was being sold at Rs 2000 to Rs 2500 per kilogram.”Trout farming is a highly profitable business. Any farmer having 35 marla land and proper water inflow and outflow system can produce 2,250 kg trout by earning about two million rupees profit after 15 months raring,” he added. He said Pakistan can earn substantial revenue by giving special incentives to trout’s farmers besides construction of new trout lakes especially in Malakand and Hazara divisions due availability of plenty of cold water reservoirs and ideal climate conditions for trout farming.

KP government had launched Trout Village Project (TVP) in Hazara and Malakand Divisions in 2018-19 under which 93 small and large trout fish farms were established, said Muhammad Zubair, Deputy Director, Planning and Monitoring, KP Fisheries Department.

“These farms were established under a 50:50% cost sharing formula basis contributed by the KP Government and farmers mostly in Swat and Mansehra districts under TVP that would be completed by June this year,” he said. A model trout hatchery under KP government has been established at Salathanar valley in Upper Swat on 15 kanal with capacity to produce six million fish seeds per year, he said, adding it would start production next year.

Zubair said another project ‘development of cold water fisheries resources’ costing Rs 1200 million, a joint venture of Federal and Provincial Governments having 40:60pc cost sharing basis, was underway in Malakand and Hazara divisions under which 297 trout lakes were being established.

“The KP government has recently approved ‘development of reservoirs for uplift of fisheries resources costing Rs 500 million’ project under which 67 carp fish farms and model hatchery on 179 kanal at Swabi would be established from where fish seedlings would be provided to private hatcheries and Turbella dam.” With completion of these projects, he said KP’s fish production would likely increase to 740 metric tons from the existing 400 metric tons by 2024.

Terming water pollution and climate change as a big threat to trout farming, the official suggested a comprehensive mechanism for disposal of hotels waste in Malakand and Hazara divisions. Throwing of plastic pollution and hotels effluent drains directly into River Swat and Kunhar are extremely harmful for freshwater trout, he added.

Mohibullah Khan, Provincial Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Department said the government had increased the development budget to record Rs 8298 million for 132 ongoing and new projects during FY 2021-22.

Work on a new project “development of fisheries resources in merged areas” has been commenced under which Rs 220 million would be spent in current fiscal, adding that model coldwater research centre was being established at Madyn Swat with a facility of a fish hatchery where academia and young researchers would be facilitated to conduct researches on different issues of aquatic resources.